How It Works: Achieving Peak Software Velocity Through Refactoring

If your company is considering moving its data and/or software services to the cloud, here are some recent statistics to help influence your decision:

  • By 2020, cloud computing is expected to grow more than 19 percent, year-over-year, to a more than $162 billion industry. (Source: International Data Corporation [IDC])
  • Cloud spending is increasing by more than 4.5 times IT spending, a figure that is expected to rise to 6 percent through 2020. (Source: Salesforce)
  • IT-as-a-Service spending, including for software and services and data center activity, will reach the $547 billion threshold by the end of 2018. (Source: Deloitte)

The migration of your company’s data and services to a cloud infrastructure seems to be a matter of ‘when,’ rather than ‘if,’ and for most emerging and mid-market businesses, cloud compatibility is a must if they are to meet growing market demands for on-the-go accessibility.

In the context of cloud migration, ‘velocity’ is a term that describes the pace at which active software development teams are able to migrate portions of code to the cloud. It measures time-to-market for these units of code and is often seen as a key indicator of project health. Refactoring old sections of code using Agile methodologies is a common way for system architects to rehabilitate source code and increase velocity.

Agile development methodologies work by partitioning large projects into smaller, more digestible units that usually take development teams one to four weeks to complete. Here’s a deeper look at how it works.

Refactoring Software for Max Velocity

Agile methodologies are used to help standardize the development process and provide a useful feedback mechanism to inform development teams in real time of what is working or not working as they re-engineer a body of code.

  • Initial assessment. The Agile process begins with an initial assessment of the customer’s needs. Answering several questions about the functionality of a code helps teams design an organizational plan to guide the beginning stages of code refactoring. Because the Agile method breaks large sections of code into smaller units, development teams can easily shift their focus, where needed, to optimize the development process to adapt to changing conditions.
  • User Stories and Backlogs. Following from the initial assessment, teams create user stories and populate backlogs. The user stories consist of short statements outlining each real-world use case as depicted from the end-user perspective. Together, they help system engineers get a sense of both the type of user they are targeting and the benefits they hope to provide through refactoring. Developing as in-depth a set of user stores as possible is a critical part of the planning process. Product backlogs, in turn, provide teams with a prioritized list of each user story to be addressed during each sprint. Along with the release plan, iteration backlog, burndown chart, retrospective report, and impediment list, product backlogs provide critical information and feedback to development teams to help streamline the engineering process.
  • Daily Work, Meetings. Once the workflow is established, development teams settle into a defined set of daily routines where each team member takes on a specific role. Daily activities include test development, refactoring, daily meetings to discuss possible adaptations, testing, analysis, design, coding, code review, and unit testing. Each daily meeting is an important part of the Agile refactoring processas they provide a platform for engineers to share and compare testing information to inform on-the-fly decision making and support any changes needed to refine the refactoring process. Development teams ask the following questions in order to provide team members with timely feedback.
  • What should we keep doing?
  • What should we begin doing?
  • What should we stop doing?
  • Deployment and support. As soon as a unit of code has finished a thorough round of testing, it can be moved to the deployment phase. In deployment, completed sections of code are released to an operations team and put into service. Once a section of refactored source code has been reactivated, the development team can still provide support where needed. It is important to keep the dev/ops handoff as warm as possible to ensure consistent performance throughout the deployment process.

It is worth remembering that although these are the most common phases of Agile development, the process is designed to be highly customizable to fit each customer’s needs. By tailoring each refactoring process to meet customer needs and standardizing both the input and output of code into the system, teams can significantly increase time-to-market velocity.

Tiempo Quality System (TQS)

To help emerging and mid-sized companies achieve their desired level of velocity through refactoring but avoid an over-emphasis on any one metric, Tiempo Development created the Tiempo Quality System (TQS). Clients utilize the Tiempo Development Configurator to deliver a high-quality project results customized that meet each client’s needs.

The Tiempo Quality System is a purpose-built system designed around Agile methodologies to mitigate many of the issues teams encounter as product velocity increases. TQS benefits from its use of the Tiempo Development Configurator, which measures and takes into account more than 50 variables, helping engineers automate their decision making and deliver high-quality results without sacrificing velocity.

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